What Should Men Wear With a Zip Up Sweater?

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Jason Isaacs wears a zip up sweater to the "Valkyrie" premiere in London in 2009.
Jason Isaacs wears a zip up sweater to the "Valkyrie" premiere in London in 2009. (Image: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

A zip up sweater is a fantastically versatile addition to your wardrobe, offering a stylish appearance with a ton of function. Though it's similar to a classic button-up cardigan, the full zip closure gives you more options. While you can wear a zip up sweater like a cardigan by leaving it partially unzipped, you may also wear it fully unzipped like a jacket or zipped all the way up like a pullover. Become familiar with some solid outfit ideas to make the most of this multi-faceted garment.

Classic Pieces

Keep it classic when you're styling around a zip up sweater if you're looking for a simple, streamlined way to pull this garment into your daily wardrobe. For example, when you're hanging out with friends on the weekend, reach for a blue chambray, button-front shirt tucked into a pair of black jeans. Top your outfit with a gray, chunky-knit zip up sweater, left unzipped, and slide your feet into a pair of low-profile black sneakers. Or, opt for the dressier version of this look for the office or a date with a pale blue button-down shirt and a pair of black trousers, topped with the same sweater. Slide your feet into black Oxfords or loafers to complete your look.

Urban Wear

Go for an urban-inspired ensemble by layering knitwear over knitwear. Visualize yourself in a thin, charcoal sweater in a lightweight fabric, such as merino wool or a a silk/cotton blend. Pull on a zip up sweater in a more substantial fabric, such as a thicker wool or cotton, in solid black and leave it unzipped. Pull on a pair of dark rinse, straight leg jeans and black leather ankle boots or moto-style boots for a gritty edge. Or, go for an all-black look with a black half-zip sweater pulled on over a lightweight, black knit, long-sleeve top. Add black, straight-leg jeans and the same black boots.

Weekend Casual

While zip up sweaters often conjure up images of chilly weather, sweaters are appropriate during warmer weather, too, when temperatures still allow for layering. Imagine you're grabbing coffee with friends on the weekend or are spending time at the beach. Create a laid-back outfit by starting with a cotton T-shirt. For a classic approach, start with a solid, neutral crewneck in a color like heather gray, dark gray or oatmeal. Pull on medium rinse, straight-leg blue jeans and top your look with a cream-hued cotton, zip up sweater, left open. Slide on a pair of brown leather flip-flops or driving moccasins. Or, for an edgier take, pull on a black graphic T-shirt with a visually strong design over dark gray, distressed, straight-leg jeans. Warm up with a black cotton zip up sweater and slide your feet into black canvas slip-ons.

Sophisticated Details

Go for a half-zip up sweater and add accessories for a sophisticated appearance -- it's that simple. For example, start with a white button-front shirt and tie. Imagine yourself in a navy-and-white tie with a navy half-zip sweater pulled over. Unzip the sweater to allow your collar and tie to show. Or, skip the shirt and tie and pull the same navy sweater on over a navy cotton, long-sleeve layering T-shirt. Wrap a medium gray scarf around your neck with the sweater unzipped; allow the scarf to sit inside your sweater's stand-collar, tucking the ends down into the front of the sweater. Pull on brown corduroys and brown Oxfords or dress the look down with a pair of jeans and sand-hued chukkas.

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